tv NBC Nightly News NBC August 23, 2010 4:30pm-5:00pm PST
on our broadcast tonight -- paying the price. bp's fund to pay for the oil disaster is now up and running. tonight, where's the money going and where are the problems? math lesson. what should we think about a gorgeous new school where the high price tag in a state where teachers are losing their jobs? crackdown. the massive egg recall growing and so do questions about why a simple solution isn't being more widely used. and miracle in the mine. 17 days, trapped 2,000 feet down. they are alive and well, but they may not get out until christmas. they may not get out until christmas. "nightly news" begins now. captions paid for by nbc-universal television
good evening. once again tonight, all eyes are on the gulf of mexico where we are days away from marking the fifth anniversary of katrina, where they have 90 days worth of crude oil in that water. today, the massive bp fund, $20 billion designed to make it right, as they say in their commercials, starts to get handed out. there is one man in charge of it -- a new england lawyer named kenneth feinberg. can you imagine having that job? he's the authority who will get to decide who gets what and when. the gulf region is full of people who suffered real hurt as a result of all that oil in the water. we begin again tonight with our chief environmental affairs correspondent anne thompson in venice, louisiana. ann, good evening. >> reporter: good evening, brian. you know, venice once called itself very proudly the fishing capital of the world. to reclaim that title, the fishermen and business people here need financial help. so you will understand why the
people in venice and, indeed, across the gulf coast are looking at the man who will decide how much they will get for all that they have lost. ken feinberg is the $20 billion man. >> here's another reason you've got to fill out the form. >> reporter: today he barnstormed the mississippi coast, explaining the new gulf coast claims facility, replacing the bp claims service that made few people happy. >> i will come back here as much as possible. >> reporter: feinberg wants people whose jobs and businesses were harmed by the spill to apply for an emergency payment equal to six months' losses, but those people are skeptical of a man appointed by president obama and administering funds from bp. >> when the administration and bp set up this program, they set it up with me as totally independent. if anybody thinks that i'm beholden to either the administration or bp, i can only tell them, just watch what this
facility does in the way of compensation over the next few weeks and months, and you will see not through talk but deed how independent this facility really is. >> reporter: in its four-month effort bp said it received 154,000 claims. they came from all 50 states. bp paid out $399 million. now, today feinberg was just talking about the emergency payments that people can file for from now until november 23. next year he'll deal with final settlements and those are expected to be far more contentious and controversial, because in some cases, some people may have to forfeit their right to sue bp to get that money. brian? >> anne thompson on captain james' boat in what was the once and, let's hope, future fishing capital of the world, venice, louisiana. anne, thanks. again, all of this is happening as we approach the fifth anniversary of hurricane
katrina. in new orleans today, an historic marker was dedicated, placed on the very place where the 17th street canal floodwall gave way leading to the disaster. we'll report from the gulf beginning thursday night when we revisit people we met during the crisis. we'll have an exclusive interview with president obama that will air beginning sunday. and we almost hate to say this, but there is a new hurricane in the atlantic, believe it or not. danielle is still a category one, still closer to africa than america. projections only take us to about this coming saturday night, aiming vaguely at the atlantic coast with winds approaching 110, 115 miles an hour. there is a chance bermuda might be in its path. forecasters along with the rest of us, of course, hoping for a big, wide turn to the north. now to los angeles where the most expensive public school campus ever built is set to open next month. but with california's state budget in crisis, the half
billion dollar price tag is being met with disbelief around the country. nbc's lee cowan is there for us tonight. lee, good evening. >> good evening, brian. no one disputes that this really is a state-of-the-art facility. the problem is it's opening at the same time california is laying off thousands of teachers, slashing hundreds of programs. all this extravagance over a building has really touched a nerve. it sprawls over 23 acres. six learning centers built to house some 4,000 students in grades k through 12. the robert f. kennedy community schools is an architectural marvel, a campus full of modern buildings, an auditorium, a ritzy cafe and even a manicured park. >> the children in this school system, the most congested area in the school system, the most diverse in this school system are going to have one of the most beautiful learning environments. >> reporter: but the school's
price tag -- $578 million -- is raising a lot of eyebrows. the math works out to be about $135,000 per student. >> it is the most costly school in the united states. >> reporter: when ground was broken, it seemed like a good idea. the site is historically hallowed ground. it's where the old ambassador hotel once stood -- the tragic site of robert kennedy's assassination in 1968. in deciding how best to memorialize him, many thought a state-of-the-art school would fit the bill, but that was the '80s. today, california is laying off thousands of teachers and cutting back on academic programs, all in an effort to fill a $600 million budget gap. some say opening a taj mahal-style education complex hardly seems appropriate now. >> we needed the best in teachers, kids, classrooms and textbooks. that's where the money needs to go.
not in a half a billion dollar building. >> reporter: the catch, say officials, is that half a billion didn't come from the state's beleaguered education budget. it came from a bond measure that voters approved. >> you could not use any of this money other than for building that particular building. it cannot be used for anything else. >> reporter: tonight, the most expensive school ever built is, for some, an investment, for others, a mistake. now, brian, school board members say that this is actually just one of a hundred schools build recently to solve the overcrowding system but they say the days of mega schools like this one are now over. brian? >> lee cowan with a story from l.a. for us tonight. lee, thanks for that. for weeks now a plan to build a muslim community center and mosque near ground zero in new york city has fuelled passionate debate for and against it. a "time" magazine poll shows how the issue is resonating. two-thirds of respondents are
following it very or somewhat closely. 61% of those polled say they oppose this idea. our own ron allen has the latest on the plan and the man behind it. >> reporter: far from home in the middle east imam feisal abdul raulf says nothing about his plan to build a 13-story islamic center and mosque near ground zero. while competing protesters gathered in lower manhattan this weekend. [ chanting ] >> reporter: he's on a state department sponsored trip for tolerance. his fourth mission under the administration. >> today we will be talking about islam as a religion of peace. >> reporter: opponents of the project at ground zero insist the imam is a terrorist sympathizer. it's become fodder on the weekend talk shows. >> this is a man, the very same month people were burying their loved ones lost in 9/11, he said
that america was an accessory to the crime of 9/11. >> i think we are deeply concerned because this is like a metastasized antisemitism. that's what we feel right now. it's not even islam-phobia. it's hate of muslims. >> reporter: he's accused of taking his words out of context. >> i am one of the leaders of the modern muslim voices in this country and globally who have condemned terrorism. >> reporter: many muslim-americans insist this debate is more evidence of religious intolerance and it illustrates how difficult it is for them to be accepted by mainstream america because lately there has been open hostility to mosques far from ground zero. near nashville a plan for a mosque faces opposition. in florida there is a plan to burn korans on september 11.
meanwhile, developers of the project near ground zero point out that hundreds already use the building for friday prayers. another mosque is four blocks away and muslims regularly hold prayer services at another place attacked on 9/11 -- the pentagon. still, for many, even near ground zero in lower manhattan is just too close. ron allen, nbc news, new york. now we turn to politics. it's primary day tomorrow in alaska, florida, vermont and arizona, where john mccain, just two years ago his party's nominee for president, has been fighting hard and spending a lot to hang onto his seat in the u.s. senate. our report from nbc's kelly o'donnell. >> reporter: after 28 years in congress and a presidential run, tomorrow's primary comes down to this. who do arizona republicans think john mccain really is? >> listen, i have to prove myself to every voter who will consider voting for me. and i will stand on my record. >> reporter: critics say mccain
has run from his record, taking a hard right on key issues. a maverick who once partnered with ted kennedy for comprehensive immigration reform, the mccain of 2010 became all about border security. >> complete the dang fence. >> reporter: mccain looked vulnerable in the spring when former congressman j.d. hayworth accused him of supporting amnesty. >> if people really want amnesty and open borders, they can vote for john mccain on tuesday. >> john mccain talks tough on the border today. what about tomorrow? had enough? >> reporter: in an exclusive interview mccain acknowledges he has shifted. >> i would say that a certain amount of emphasis has changed with the changing situation. >> reporter: defending the change, he said his constituents are more afraid today because of increasing border violence. >> so it's their priority, so it has to be my priority. i represent them. >> reporter: mccain fought back and now has a commanding lead in the polls and in campaign cash. hayworth has raised about $3 million.
mccain has spent more than $20 million. >> he's not taking any chances. he's going to keep pummelling this guy until the bitter end. >> reporter: mccain pounded hayworth over his appearance in a 2007 tv infomercial pitching for a company that promised free government grant money, totally at odds with fiscal conservativism. >> suffice it to say, that was a mistake. >> reporter: in a tough race, mccain says voters remind him they are fed up with washington. >> people say, look, you're a great guy, john mccain, and i'm probably going to vote for you, but i think we ought to throw everybody out. >> reporter: kelly o'donnell, nbc news, phoenix. overseas, iran says it has developed the first unmanned drone aircraft in its arsenal -- a 13-foot-long bomber it calls an ambassador of death. iran's president ahmadinejad presided over the unveiling but u.s. officials said it's unlike the highly effective american predator drone.
because of that, iran's aircraft flies at high speeds, cannot hover and carries missiles that are unlikely to hit with precision. with an apparent range of about 500 miles, the drone is not said to be capable of reaching israel. when our broadcast continues in just a moment, the massive egg recall exposes more cracks in this nation's food safety system, but there is a solution, it turns out. and later, the astonishing story of the miners trapped alive. can they hold on long enough? trapped alive. can they hold on long enough? s . his day starts with his arthritis pain. that's breakfast with two pills. the morning is over, it's time for two more pills. the day marches on, back to more pills. and when he's finally home... but hang on; just two aleve can keep arthritis pain away all day with fewer pills than tylenol. this is steven, who chose aleve and 2 pills for a day free of pain. and get the all day pain relief of aleve in liquid gels.
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a setback tonight for the obama administration's efforts to expand stem cell research. a federal judge has temporarily blocked federal funding of embryonic research that he says destroys embryos which congress has outlawed. president obama signed an executive order last year that repealed bush administration limits on federal funds for embryonic stem cell research.
the justice department said it is reviewing the ruling tonight. the fda said today this massive egg recall could get even larger. as investigators trace the web of suppliers and distributors of millions of eggs to two iowa farms. once again it's raising questions about our food system and, in this case, questions about why a solution that does work isn't being used more. our report from nbc's tom costello. >> reporter: it may be a symptom of an overwhelmed and antiquated food safety system. the fda says its inspectors never visited the iowa egg farm now at the center of the salmonella investigation because farm accountability standards were so weak. tough new egg safety measures were actually proposed in the late '90s but didn't take effect until july 9th. >> it was sadly a little too late for this outbreak which began back in may. it will make a difference going forward. >> reporter: 20 fda investigators are now at two farms in iowa -- the wright
county egg farm owned by jack decoster whose violations of health, safety, pollution, and animal cruelty laws go back decades. decoster supplied chicks and feed to hillandale farms which is also recalling millions of eggs. inspectors aren't sure how the hens themselves became infected, but one sure way to eliminate salmonella is through pasturization, an hour-long bath in which eggs are heated but not cooked. >> we can pass enough heat through the egg to kill bacteria or viruses inside and yet not change the flavor, the performance characteristics of the egg. >> reporter: only about 1% of america's eggs are pasturized adding about 50 cents to the price of a dozen. many people say it does change the taste of an egg. still, the cdc supports pasturization. >> we think this is a good personal food safety and public health food safety approach. >> reporter: this egg recall is
just the latest involving salmonella. in recent years peanut butter, spinach and processed foods have also been affected. yet, the fda doesn't have the authority to issue a recall. the senate left town without passing a law that grants that authority and more. >> it will also enable us to really put in place the preventative measures that are necessary to stop these kinds of outbreaks from happening in the first place. >> reporter: an outbreak that undermine's confidence in america's food supply and its favorite breakfast. tom costello, nbc news, washington. >> there is more on what to look for in this egg recall on our website, nightly.msnbc.com. tiger woods is officially divorced. his split from now ex-wife elin nordegren was finalized in a courtroom in panama city, florida. the golf superstar and the former nanny, now the mother of his two children, were both in court as the judge closed the case including a financial settlement -- details not disclosed. the couple married six years
ago. they will share custody of those two children. when we come back, remembering the man who wrote what became the theme song of an american generation. ♪ [ female announcer ] this is not a prescription. this is diane. diane, who has diabetes and a daughter who could use a little perspective. diane, who worked with her walgreens pharmacist to keep her blood-sugar numbers in check with a few changes to her diet. ♪ diane, who's showing her daughter the world's a bit bigger than 8th grade. expertise -- find it everywhere there's a walgreens. ♪ now the healing power of touch just got more powerful. introducing precise from the makers of tylenol.
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the game of baseball i love with all my heart and soul. i found in the deep recesses of my mind that i did not want to sever the relationship. >> so here's the thinking here. if you can hold onto a job for 62 years, why not do it? and if you're vince scully and all you have ever wanted to do is announce dodger games, and your wife is okay with it, well, that's just what he did. the bronx-born vince scully will stay in the booth another year and thus all is well in southern california. veteran correspondent harold dow has died. he'll be remembered as a ground-breaker, story-breaker and a ubiquitous face on the evening news, "48 hours" and
other broadcasts, those of us in the business will remember him as such a nice man. he died of an apparent severe asthma attack. he leaves his wife and three children. harold dow was 62 years old. and in his own quiet way, eddie kean made a contribution to american culture during a very different time in america. he wrote the song "it's howdy doody time" which became an anthem with young kids. he also wrote most of the shows and created the word cowabunga later put to use by bart simpson. eddie kean was 85 years old. and coming up, an entire nation is breathing easier after trapped miners are found alive. problem is now comes the hard part. i'm a random windstorm. [ grunts ] ♪ i'm a hot babe out jogging. ♪ call me mayhem. [ tires screech ] i'm every reason to have the right insurance. [ tires screech ] but a lot of you are cutting your coverage
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stop taking cialis and call your doctor right away. [ male announcer ] ask your doctor if cialis for daily use is right for you. for a 30-tablet free trial offer, go to cialis.com. finally tonight, we have had our share of mine disasters in this country and when they happen, we hope and pray for the very best. 17 days is a long time and after 17 days you wouldn't have blamed rescuers for losing hope until they got the sign, that is, that 33 miners -- all of them -- 2,000 feet down were okay. this story is going on in chile. now comes the hard part. it is also an inspiring story. there is good news here.
we get our report tonight from nbc's mike taibbi. [ cheers ] >> reporter: it was jubilation fuelled by the shock of unexpected good news. unbelievably after seven failed attempts, rescue workers at a gold and copper mine in northern chile drilled a lifeline the width of a grapefruit that reached the refuge where the miners gathered more than 2,000 feet below ground. a tiny camera was lowered. no audio, but video showing a couple of the miners alive. they sent two notes up tied to the drill bit, read to waiting families by chile's new president. all 33 of us are fine in the shelter, one note read. another miner wrote, i am okay, thanks to god. i hope to get out soon. not that soon though. despite the euphoria at the site, the rescue team said it could take as long as four months to drill a hole big enough to pull the men to safety. rescuers will follow the safest
route through the unstable underground terrain to reach the miners. >> they don't want to destroy the integrity of the area where the miners are waiting right now. so they do have to move slowly and methodically. >> reporter: through the lifeline the men will receive food, water, fresh air. they can survive physically. but psychologically? they are tough men by definition, but they have already lasted longer in underground isolation than almost any other mine disaster victims ever. elliot weinberg, a psychiatrist, says it is uncharted territory as to whether a medical or leadership crisis, fear or suspicion may send the group into chaos. >> mass psychosis. everybody going crazy. get us out of here! i can't stand it anymore. i don't want to hear from him. i can't stand him, and him, and him. >> reporter: beyond the tears of joy, a still developing story whose ending might not be written for months. mike taibbi, nbc news, new york. >> that's our broadcast for this monday night as we begin a new
week. thank you for being here with us. i'm brian williams. and we, of course, hope to see you right back here tomorrow evening. you right back here tomorrow evening. good night. -- captions by vitac -- www.vitac.com summer weather for what seems like the first time this summer. thousands of bay area residents just soaking it up. good evening. i'm lisa kim. >> and i'm jessica rose. the temperatures rose into the mid-90s in some spots but the heat watch is not even over. tracy grant shows us how people dealt with it in the east bay all wa